Happy 2017 all! I don’t know about you, but the end of 2016 was a rough one for me. I attended two funerals within three weeks at the end of the year for people who died way before their time, one at age 39 and one age 18. The 39-yo, Cicily Janus, had been a mentor to me years back and I credit her writing retreat with why I received several offers of representation from agents soon thereafter. Cicily also assigned fellow author, Sue Duff, as my roommate for the week, and though I had never met her before, we became instant friends who stayed up giggling like we were in high school every night until 4a. The 18-yo was a boy at my 9-yo daughter’s dance school and she had danced in a Nutcracker production with him a year ago. It was her first funeral and there were so many tears, but the service was beautiful and multiple videos were shown of him doing what he loved to do, which was dance. It prompted a lot of discussion afterward in our household about death and dying, souls, and what life on this planet is all about. Combined with the political climate following the election (entire post on that coming soon because if you follow me on social media, you know I have thoughts), and the death of many beloved icons from my childhood, from Prince to Princess Leia *shakes fist at 2016*, I can’t remember a time when I felt so heartbroken all at once.
Yet, if you know me, I always look for the silver lining in all things because I was made that way. What is the point of so much loss and pain? One positive was that the deep discussions in our household brought our already close family even closer. It was also a huge reminder of what’s important to me. To take every opportunity to express your love and gratitude for family, friends, and other loved ones because, in the end, you never know when it could be the last holiday you have with someone. To fight for freedom and equality for all people because you never know when democracy could disappear. In my other job, as a psychologist and career coach, I often give an exercise for homework called “One Year to Live,” and this year really brought home for me that I want to live every year in the way that is most meaningful to me. I’ve seen multiple people on social media saying similar things. Saying they want to simplify and reevaluate their lives, some stepping away from social media, and others (like me) stepping on it. I’ve been doing more consistent meditation and yoga, and I know others who are training for ultra marathons. Do whatever feels right for you without worrying about what others think, or as my 12-yo son says, “You do you.”
I also have exciting book news, writing goals and other aspirations for the year which I will share in future posts, but first felt the need to reflect on the past year as it has directed where I’m headed. I’m choosing to let the pain of the past year motivate me to keep moving forward. I wish all of you peace and happiness in the year ahead, and hope that you all continue reaching for your dreams and goals no matter what obstacles may land in your path. Here’s hoping that 2017 brings great things to you!